National Equity Fund

AHF Readers’ Choice Award Winners Announced – Two NEF Developments Honored

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September 24, 2021

NEF syndicated developments Hope Manor Village and Milwaukee Soldiers Home have been declared winners of Affordable Housing Finance’s (AHF) Reader’s Choice awards! Milwaukee Soldiers Home is a co-winner in the Historical Rehab category, while Hope Manor Village won both in the Urban category as well as being declared overall winner. Milwaukee Soldiers Home was developed by The Alexander Company, and Hope Manor Village by Volunteers of America (VOA) Illinois. In its 17th year, the annual AHF Reader’s Choice awards are selected by AHF magazine and newsletter subscribers in each category. Winners are to be recognized at AHF Live: The Affordable Housing Developers’ Summit, Nov. 15-17, 2021, in Chicago. This extraordinary achievement is a reflection of the expertise and hard work The Alexander Company and VOA Illinois, along with countless partners, put into their critically needed and innovative affordable housing developments.

Overall winner as well as winner of the urban category, Hope Manor Village is a 36-unit development located on 16 separate lots surrounding the Hope Manor II Campus in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood. Hope Manor Village offers supportive services that are designed to meet the unique needs of individual families, are multi-generational (targeting both children and adults), strength-based, gender-responsive and trauma-informed. While the development has Veterans preference, all families in need of affordable housing are eligible. Each flat features in-unit laundry, central air and heat, and essential appliances. VOA Illinois CEO Nancy Hughes Moyer says of the development, “We were able to show people with Hope Manor Village that if you build high-quality, affordable housing in a community that is struggling with disinvestment and significant population loss, you can keep people there who might have otherwise left and you can bring back people who had already left.” At NEF, our mission is the expansion of affordable housing, because as Nancy Hughes Moyer explains, it is the vital foundation for community revitalization, and that is the magnitude of Hope Manor Village’s importance to Englewood.

Co-winner of the Historic Rehab category, Milwaukee Soldiers Home’s is a 101-unit preservation on the grounds of the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center in Milwaukee, WI. The home was originally built for the rehabilitation of Civil War soldiers in 1867, as part of one of the last pieces of legislation signed by President Lincoln. “To be able to repurpose it for veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness is remarkable,” says Joseph Alexander, president of developer The Alexander Company. Today, six historic buildings on the Milwaukee Soldiers Home grounds, including a National Historic Landmark, have been rehabilitated and returned to their original purpose – the service of veterans. The development also serves families experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness. Sometimes innovation is about looking to the past as much as it is looking to the future, or in the case of Milwaukee Soldiers Home, bringing that past into the future. Being able to bring a historical site back into operation to serve its original purpose is a testament to the skill and expertise of our fantastic partners at The Alexander Company.

Hope Manor Village and Milwaukee Soldiers Home each represent distinct approaches to the expansion of affordable housing, the reutilization of underused property, and the rehabilitation of historic buildings. They are examples of the multi-faceted approach needed to address the critical need for quality affordable housing across the country, a mission that NEF is committed to pursuing through strong partnerships with excellent developers like VOA Illinois and The Alexander Company.

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